Coop, Sweetie, Little Boo Take Flight When ‘The Chicken Squad’ Premieres May 14
Animated Disney Junior series features young chickens solving problems in their backyard
The Chicken Squad, an animated series blending comedy and adventure, premieres on Disney Junior May 14. Inspired by Doreen Cronin’s children’s book series, the show follows a trio of chicken siblings, Coop, Sweetie and Little Boo, and their dog pal Captain Tully. They team up on problem-solving adventures in their backyard.
The Chicken Squad was developed and is executive produced by Tom Rogers, who previously worked on Elena of Avalor, and wrote the children’s book Eleven, about a boy turning 11 on Sept. 11, 2001.
Rogers read the Cronin books, and immediately saw a series. “I just fell in love with them instantly,” he said. “They took me back to stories I used to love when I was a kid--kids with a secret hideout who were detectives, who solved mysteries in the neighborhood. I just connected with them immediately.”
Yvette Nicole Brown voices Captain Tully, Ramone Hamilton handles Coop, Gabriella Graves does Sweetie and Maxwell Simkins voices Little Boo. Recurring cast includes Tony Hale, Jane Lynch and Melissa Rauch.
Each episode features two 11-minute stories. The show targets kids two to seven, and their parents. “We don’t write down to our audience,” said Rogers. “We try to write up to the parents. They want to be entertained too.”
The series features some funky music that ranges from pop to R&B to country and electronica.
The Chicken Squad is Rogers’ first shot at being a showrunner. “I didn’t realize how much effort it takes to lead a team,” he admitted.
Asked about influences, Rogers mentioned “adventure stories set in exotic places,” such as Call of the Wild. He also cited The Three Investigators children’s books, which features “kids being active leaders in the stories. Secret hideouts, kids seeing things adults can’t see, kids using their skills and ingenuity to solve problems.”
The empathy behind The Chicken Squad makes it right for 2021, Rogers believes. “Maybe even more than ever, we need to remember to see beyond the things that separate us,” he said, “and find the things that connect us.”
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Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.